Do Your Loved Ones Understand Your Career Priorities?

Career PrioritiesOne of the things that determines whether you sink or swim with finances is how your career progresses as you get older. It can be quite a challenge to balance your career goals with your personal goals in a way that gives you both financial stability and a lifestyle that allows you to nurture your relationships with loved ones. We’ll describe how to evaluate how your career priorities are meshing with those important relationships.

Building a career takes direction, motivation, and persistence. So what happens if you’re working to build the career of your dreams, but your loved ones just don’t seem to understand? No matter how independent you may be, it’s difficult to keep surging forward when facing resistance from those most important in your life. So what do you do?

Let’s look at a few ways this often plays out. Do any of these resemble your life?

  • You love your job, but it doesn’t pay well. While you’d like to earn more, you value fulfillment higher.
  • You love your job and it pays well, but the hours are intense. It’s difficult to find balance in your life.
  • You’re struggling in an extremely competitive field. You want this career more than you want stability.
  • You have a good job and  good income, but aren’t fulfilled. Stability is your goal and you search for happiness in the other areas of life.
  • You’re in a career that you don’t view yourself in long-term. You’re now re-evaluating past decisions and considering making a change.

Do you see yourself in any of these examples? Maybe you even see bits of yourself in a few of these. The one common link is that there are hard choices and sacrifices to be made for any career – whether you sacrifice a little on time, fulfillment, or money. Now, although you’ve accepted your decision, your loved ones may not understand. So let’s talk about what you can do to help your loved ones understand your career priorities.


The first step in understanding is communication. While your loved ones may know what you’re trying to accomplish, do they know why? When it comes to the time and mental energy it takes to build a career, some of your personal relationships may slide without you even realizing it. Even if you’ve been keeping up to date with your loved ones you may only talk to them about what you need to do and not what you hope to get out of it. This can easily create a disconnect and they may never get an understanding of what makes you happy.

So explain to your loved ones not just what you want to accomplish, but how you feel in your career. What is it about your career (or the career you’re striving for) that you love? What do you hope to do with it someday? Why do you feel that this same fulfillment can’t be accomplished in another career? Giving your loved ones a peek into your thoughts and feelings about your goals will allow them to walk in your shoes and truly understand what you want.

Consider Other Points of View

All personal relationships are complicated so communication has to go both ways. Let’s say you explain the reason for your heart’s desire and your loved ones still don’t understand. What are their objections? Do they think you work too many hours? That you worry too much about making money? That you make too many personal sacrifices for your job? Or maybe they’re worried you won’t make it. That you can’t survive on your pay. That it’s not a legitimate field. That you have to move far away (or already live far away) to pursue your career.

No matter what their objections, remember there’s a reason. And – even if you don’t agree with the reason – that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. If your loved ones are watching you struggle to make it, they might just be worried about you and want to see you in something more stable. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want you to be happy, but rather that they think you can find that happiness elsewhere in life. Or, if you’re working a lot of hours, they might feel that you aren’t involved in their lives anymore. Maybe there’s something you can do to show them you care even when you’re extremely busy. Consider your loved ones’ points of view – even if you’ll never agree with them – because there just might be a compromise to be made to improve your finances, your relationships, and your career!

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Search for Common Ground

If you’ve both expressed your feelings and are still at a stalemate, don’t give up trying to find common ground. What kind of career do they have? Are they happy? What did they do to achieve their career goals? What did they give up to make their careers happen? Or conversely, did they have to give up their career for some reason? Did they never make it to their career goals? We all have our opinions shaped by personal bias – no matter how hard we try to be objective. What’s their bias and what’s yours?

Once you understand what they went through, then relate that to what you’re trying to do. This will help you communicate with logic rather than emotion – which will allow for a more productive conversation. At that point, you may find yourselves on the same page and they may even be able to help you achieve your career goals or have ideas for an approach that allows for more balance in your life. Your loved ones presumably want the best for you so be open to their ideas – we could all use room for improvement!

Follow Your Instincts

Hopefully all this will help you at the very least develop an understanding with each other. But if you are firmly resolved that you’re doing the right thing in your career, but they still won’t meet you halfway, then follow your instincts. You have to live with the decisions you do or don’t make and regret is a hard pill to swallow. Not just regret in achieving the career you want but regret in what you sacrifice to get there. So take a good look at what you want and what you’re willing to do to achieve it –  then go for it!

Whether you’re deep in your career and working your way to the top, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re considering a major career move, it will be a lot easier to keep moving forward if you’re not facing constant opposition from your loved ones. It may not always be easy to help others see why you’re striving towards certain goals, but all anyone can ask is that you try. Your career will directly affect your finances, your relationships, and your personal fulfillment. All of these aspects should be taken very seriously and be given equal attention when it comes to developing the career of your dreams.

Image Credit: Takashi(aes256)

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  • AvgJoeMoney

    Good stuff, Shannon. Early in my career I made little money but knew that there was big gold at the end of that rainbow. I was lucky to have a spouse who was HUGELY supportive during those lean years. You’re 100% right on: communication was the key.

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks! Having a strong support system certainly helps a lot too!

  • I am really fortunate to have the support of my wife in all my career decisions. It is a nice change from the constant negativity that my father used to give me whenever I made a life choice.

    Great post!

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      I’m sorry about the past negativity that you’ve dealt with but happy to hear you have solid support from your wife! It really can make all the difference in the world to have someone in your corner. I appreciate your compliment and you sharing your thoughts on this!